ASU announces international tech leader as new chief information officer

August 7, 2017

Arizona State University has selected Lev Gonick, an internationally recognized leader in innovative technology strategies and solutions, to serve as chief information officer (CIO) starting Nov. 1.

Gonick will lead the University Technology Office (UTO), responsible for providing technology services and support to ASU’s more than 72,000 on-campus students, 28,000 online students and 15,000 faculty and staff. Gonick will report to Mark Searle, executive vice president and university provost; and Morgan R. Olsen, executive vice president, treasurer and chief financial officer. He will also hold the rank of professor of practice. Gonick will replace current CIO Gordon Wishon, who retires at the end of the year. man speaking at podium Lev Gonick will serve as ASU's chief information officer starting Nov. 1. Download Full Image

“Under Gordon’s exceptional leadership for the past seven years, ASU’s technology office has met the challenges of a growing, globally connected university,” Searle said. “Lev’s vision, transformational leadership style and track record of innovation will support the university in further realizing the potential of technology to empower the ASU community.”

A model for the New American University, ASU relies on its world-class University Technology Office to ensure students and staff have the resources they need to pursue academic excellence in the face of unprecedented technological advancements. The UTO is the hub for ASU’s “smart campus” initiative, which is leveraging Internet of Things technology, big data and analytics to provide students with a 21st-century higher-education experience.

Gonick will serve in a consulting role prior to starting in his official capacity. Presently, he concurrently serves as chief executive officer of DigitalC, a nonprofit that catalyzes innovative technology for community impact; and OneCommunity, an award-winning organization he co-founded that enables innovation, collaboration and productivity through next-generation broadband networks.

“We are delighted to welcome Lev to ASU,” said Olsen. “Throughout his professional career he has demonstrated a commitment to innovation, creativity and collaboration that aligns with the university’s efforts to redefine the landscape of public higher education.”

From 2001 to 2013, Gonick was chief information officer at Case Western Reserve University, where he and his colleagues were internationally recognized for technology innovations in community engagement, learning spaces, next-generation network projects and organizational development.

Inside Business magazine named Gonick to its Power 100 list in 2015, and Government Technology recognized him as one of the "Top 25 Doers, Dreamers & Drivers in Public-Sector Innovation" in 2011. That same year, Crain's Cleveland Business named Gonick one of its "10 Difference Makers" in northeast Ohio and Broadband Properties honored him with a Cornerstone Award for "using fiber to build an inclusive society and empower individuals." In 2010, he was honored as "Visionary of the Year" by the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors. Gonick has been recognized by ComputerWorld as a Premier 100 IT leader and by CIO Magazine with a CIO 100 Award.

A frequent international speaker and consultant, Gonick serves on the boards of Luminance, Civitas Learning, DigitalC, Coalition for Local Internet Choice, Jewish Family Services Association, Macromedia University, US Ignite, Groundworks Dance Company, Northeast Ohio Sustainable Community Consortium, OneCommunity and New Media Consortium.

“I have long been inspired by the vision and mission of ASU,” Gonick said. “I have the greatest respect for the senior administration and the many faculty and staff I have met on campus. I am genuinely thrilled to join ASU and help chart the ways in which the professional technology community can contribute to the advancement of this innovative university.”

Gonick holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Ohio State University, a master’s degree in political science from Binghamton University and a doctorate in political science from York University.

Community arts expert Maribel Alvarez joins forces with Herberger Institute to develop regional vision for culture, heritage and diversity

August 7, 2017

Maribel Alvarez describes what she does as “the embellishment of ordinary life.” A nationally respected anthropologist, folklorist, curator and community arts expert, she is the executive director of the Tucson-based Southwest Folklife Alliance, which is affiliated with the University of Arizona. Its mission: To build more equitable and vibrant communities by celebrating the everyday expressions of culture, heritage, and diversity in the Greater Southwest.

On top of her work in Tucson, this spring Alvarez began working with Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts as a policy fellow. She said she accepted the position at the invitatation of Herberger Institute Dean Steven J. Tepper because “word of the vision and synergy around community cultural development at ASU has been spreading nationwide,” and because, in Alvarez’s view, it is critical for the University of Arizona and Arizona State University to work together to harness cultural resources. Anthropologist and folklorist Maribel Alvarez is working with ASU's Herberger Institute as a policy fellow. Maribel Alvarez, a Tucson-based anthropologist and community arts expert, is working with ASU's Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts as a policy fellow. Download Full Image

“I believe that we really have to have a regional vision for what we’re doing in community transformation and creativity,” said Alvarez, who also holds a dual appointment at the University of Arizona as associate research professor in the School of Anthropology and as public folklorist at the university’s Southwest Center.

“By ‘regional,’ I mean the border corridor,” Alvarez said. “We are primed to be the microcosm of the most important changes that our nation will experience demographically and culturally over the next 50 years. We have people of color, mixed heritage, aging population: All of those are reaching the tipping point in more dramatic ways than almost anywhere else in the country.”

For his part, Tepper sees Alvarez as a key player in the policy framework he’s putting in place. 

“ASU’s Herberger Institute is emerging as the most important place in the U.S. for innovation in design and the arts, in large part because of our understanding that the region’s evolution and growth must be yoked to the health and vibrancy of our cultural life,” said Tepper. “Dr. Alvarez is widely recognized as a visionary leader who bridges academic and community-based interventions. Her vision and expertise will help us lay the groundwork for equitable, sustainable and culturally rich development over the next decade, through efforts such as the Projecting All Voices initiative and our overarching emphasis on creative placemaking.”

The first step in that groundwork, Alvarez said, is to identify and map cultural assets — the local people, organizations, facilities and businesses in design and the arts.

Alvarez and Herberger Institute graduate student Mallory Alekna are spending the summer on the task of mapping cultural assets in the greater Phoenix area. Alvarez calls it “an exercise of discovery. You start with some contacts, and then it snowballs. You ask, 'Who else is doing that?' You’re trying to understand a network of production. Instead of going to Google and trying to find out how many theater companies, opera companies, etc. there are, you would do that through communities, through people.”

“At this point we are really interested in finding out as much as we can about the variety of ethnic enclaves and communities that are in Phoenix,” Alekna said. At an initial meeting with artists and community members, the group discussed examples of Native American and Chicano arts scenes in Phoenix, including the Yaqui traditions practiced in the town of Guadalupe, as well as the numerous ethnic enclaves in the area, which Alekna said include Iraqi, Romanian, Estonian, Puerto Rican, African, Cuban and Japanese populations, “to name a few.”

The work now involves going out into the communities “to learn more about the arts that they are creating and doing,” Alekna said.

Alvarez joins Herberger Institute faculty like Stephani Etheridge Woodson, who is well versed in cultural asset mapping.

“What I bring that complements Stephani’s work is the perspective of a folklorist that looks at an unofficial production site, like people who cook at home, people who dance at the church social,” Alvarez explained. “I think Dean Tepper brought me to complement what’s already happening in Herberger Institute. You have Stephani and [Institute Professors] Michael Rohd and Liz Lerman and Daniel Bernard Roumain and Maria Jackson: Herberger Institute is bringing synergetically this group of folks that are thinkers about participation and engagement through creative means. These are visionaries. Each person is doing it with a distinct approach. My angle is the embellishment of ordinary life.”

Alvarez emphasizes that the cross-pollination between ASU and the University of Arizona is an important aspect of her new position, because both institutions are learning about the methodologies the other uses and because collaboration is key to what she calls a regional vision.

“We’re trying to demystify and break apart that myth that there are two universities doing distinct things. Here, we can all collaborate.”

As Alvarez sees it, “the Herberger Institute vision is to really understand place as a laboratory of civic engagement. It’s not just about this region, it’s about what lessons, what models, what practices can be developed. Because if it’s happening in Arizona, you better believe it’s happening in Iowa — and if not now, then it will happen. That’s the exciting part of why do this work.”

Deborah Sussman

Communications and media specialist, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts